Lawmaker wants police trained to handle Alzheimer’s, dementia patients

Police training class at the Jonesboro Police Department
Police training class at the Jonesboro Police Department(KAIT)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 8:23 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 8:33 AM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A new bill making its way through the Arkansas state legislature would require law enforcement officers to undergo specialized training in dealing with those with dementia.

Under House Bill 1396, starting in January 2024, police officers would complete two hours of training for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.

In addition to the required 16 hours of training at all Arkansas Police Academies, two of those hours would be dedicated to educating new officers on how to identify, treat, and de-escalate crisis-like situations involving those with dementia diseases.

Arkansas Representative Dwight Tosh filed the bill on Feb. 9.

“One of the reasons I brought the bill forward was because there’s so much awareness now to people that are experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and I just want to make sure that our law enforcement are trained,” said Tosh.

The new training course would be taught by a mental health professional, and officers would learn how to handle these individuals both physically and emotionally.

The bill has passed the House and is up for a vote in the Senate after the Judiciary Committee recommended a “Do Pass.”